When Robots Work, Emotions Matter!
AI Technology

When Robots Work, Emotions Matter!

Stefano Bargagni

The idea that robots and automation will replace many jobs currently performed by humans is widely discussed. In a scenario where technology automates a large portion of work tasks, the focus should shift more towards emotions and human well-being. The ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions and those of others will be crucial for improving the quality of life, fostering creativity, ensuring optimal mental health, and guiding political and business decisions.

Yesterday, I was enjoying a succulent barbecue chicken thigh after having a couple of beers with a friend. I already knew he is deeply concerned about artificial intelligence and robots. He feels at risk of losing his job and the life privileges he has worked so hard to earn over the years, and he is terrified.

I thought of saying something provocative to him:

“When robots take over our jobs, emotions will be the only thing that matters. At least until robots get the right to vote.”

Obviously, the last part of the sentence is an absurd and ironic concept. The idea that robots might gain the right to vote highlights the exaggeration of our fears regarding the future of artificial intelligence. However, it serves to underline the importance of human emotions and values as technology advances. This ironic twist emphasizes that political leaders in democracies, who are sensitive to votes, will need to shift their paradigm on the subject of public well-being. As long as votes are cast by humans, well-being will no longer be measured solely by economic parameters.

Robots will help populations achieve universal economic well-being. Wealth will no longer be limited to populations in countries with abundant natural resources per capita, as resources can be created and distributed by machines anywhere, unlike today. Therefore, votes will go to leaders who can improve the quality of life, making us healthier and happier.

But you won’t believe it, his eyes welled up with tears. He expressed his deep anxiety about facing a situation he doesn’t know how to handle. He is terrified of becoming poor and losing the ability to maintain his standard of living.

The tragedy of my friend lies in having invested solely in the idea that money brings well-being. This idea is entirely understandable, but it assumes that economic well-being can replace emotional well-being, which it cannot.

I am convinced that humanity is heading towards a profound epochal change. This is not just a shift in tools or technologies but a fundamental question: what will be the currency of the future? And I’m not talking about fiat money or cryptocurrencies, but about what will be considered a valuable asset.

Will money have the same importance it has today for our security and sustainability? If work no longer holds the central importance in society as it does for economic benefits, don’t you think dismantling the current perception of work will also have significant implications for the perceived value of money as we know it today? This loss of the “work = money” paradigm, could irreparably undermine the sense of security for billions of people.

I’ve come to two main conclusions:

  1. There is an immediate need to embrace one of the most significant societal revolutions in human history.
  2. Emotions and feelings will play a fundamental role in measuring well-being, perhaps more than individual economic levels, which will no longer be perceived as the sole and essential means to achieve satisfaction for millions of people.

The revolution is already underway. I know people who have chosen to change jobs for the quality-of-life opportunities the new job offers, not for career advancement or higher pay. Often, they choose to reduce their salary in exchange for more attainable daily happiness, perhaps by reducing the sacrifices of time spent creating economic value in favor of time dedicated to family or themselves. This is evident in the fact that many jobs today allow for the elimination of commuting, giving back hours each day to spend on something more interesting than sitting in traffic or being crammed on a train. A colleague of mine told me about an Instagram reel where a cleaning woman said she doesn’t care if artificial intelligence can produce art; she would rather it do her household chores, allowing her to create art herself.

In this context, technologies like MorphCast, which integrate emotional intelligence into digital interactions, represent a first strategic investment for a more human and connected future where emotions truly matter.

For more insights on the evolving relationship of AI vs human, visit the MorphCast blog.

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Stefano Bargagni

Internet serial entrepreneur with a background in computer science (hardware and software), Stefano codified the e-commerce platform and founded the online retailer CHL Spa in early 1993, one year before Amazon. He is the Founder and CEO of MorphCast.